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Blockade crunches ATM service

  • Published at 07:12 pm December 2nd, 2013
Blockade crunches ATM service

Clients are having trouble withdrawing cash through ATMs as banks cannot refill the machines fearing insecurity during the ongoing blockade of the BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance.

“Most of the ATMs in the city have been empty as we could not move cash because of the continuous blockade,” said Dutch-Bangla Bank’s Vice-President Iqbal Hossain yesterday.

ATM booths had seen huge pressure of salary withdrawal yesterday besides other transactions, which had also increased recently as people had been reluctant to go to banks during blockade, he said.

“But we could not refill the machines as they need restocking manually,” Iqbal told the Dhaka Tribune.

ATM card holders of Dutch-Bangla Bank and BRAC Bank suffered more yesterday as these two banks have maximum number of ATM booths.

Dutch-Bangla Bank has 2,400 ATM booths across the country and some 3.3 million card holders. Around Tk80m is transacted a day, according to the bank.

An ATM machine can be refilled with Tk4m at a time but banks normally do the refilling according to the demand, location and security of the booth, bank officials said.

Banks could not also credit money deposited by clients at the banks’ kiosks and the amounts will not show in the accounts of the clients concerned until they are deposited at the relevant branch offices.

BRAC Bank MD Syed Mahbubur Rahman said: “We have about 200 booths in Dhaka, but the security forces [employed by the bank] are not willing to risk their lives during the blockade…We are trying to address the problem and maintain our customer satisfaction index intact.”

Pubali Bank MD Helal Ahmed Chowdhury said: “We did not face problem [refilling the ATMs] as we have fewer ATM booths and all are located near the bank branches.”

Banking transaction through ATMs in the country marked 150% growth during 2010-2012 with the annual volume reaching Tk1tn last year. Bangladesh Bank data shows that transactions through ATMs rose from Tk400bn in 2010 to Tk600bn next year.

Out of the 47 scheduled banks, 42 offer full or partial online banking services and facilities of debit and credit cards.

In 2012, as many as 40 commercial banks had their own ATM booths; the number of booths now stands at 2,958 across the country.